Optimism surrounding the U.S. economic recovery continues to grow.
Yesterday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) added to the optimism.
The OECD said it expected a stronger rebound from last year’s historic recession than it forecast in December. That was mainly due to the rapid rollout of Covid-19 vaccination programs in many countries and the increase in U.S. stimulus spending.
President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus program will boost the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic around the world. The OECD’s chief economist, Laurence Boone, said it would add about one percentage point to global economic growth in 2021.
As a result, the global economy will expand by 5.6% this year. That is an upgrade of 1.4 percentage points from the OECD’s December forecast.
The OECD substantially revised upward its expectations for U.S. growth this year. It raised its growth outlook for economic recovery from 3.2% in its December forecasts to 6.5%.
When you dump 10% of GDP on the world’s economy in stimulus, I’d be mighty surprised if it didn’t act as a booster.
The Big News
Restaurants Reopenings Boost Employment
The reopening of restaurants and bars is brightening the picture of U.S. employment and economic recovery. Restaurants and bars added 285,900 jobs in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. That was a massive increase over the 17,000 added in January. When combined with hotels and recreational facilities, restaurants accounted for the bulk of the 379,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy last month. That helped nudge the unemployment rate down to 6.2%.
Covid and Pregnant Women
As the pandemic rolls on, evidence is building around the risk of Covid-19 to pregnant women. Pregnant women with Covid seem to be at higher risk of hospitalization and severe disease than are women of the same age who are not pregnant. However, samples from the placenta, the umbilical cord and blood from mothers and infants indicate that the virus rarely crosses from mother to fetus.
Pfizer Vaccine Works On Variants
The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine showed a high ability to neutralize the coronavirus strains first detected in Brazil, the U.K., and South Africa. This was the result of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In lab experiments, the shot demonstrated “roughly equivalent” levels of neutralizing activity against the variants first seen in Brazil and U.K. compared with a version of the virus from early last year. The vaccine also showed “robust but lower” activity against the variant originally found in South Africa.
Baxter to Aid Moderna
Baxter International (BAX) will help fill in vials and package about 60-90 million doses of the Moderna (MRNA) Covid-19 vaccine in 2021. Moderna said in February that supply to the U.S. had lagged recently because of “short-term delays” in the final stages of production at its contractor Catalent. Under the pact with Baxter, the fill and finish will take place at the sterile manufacturing facilities located in Bloomington, Indiana.
Pharma Factory Inspections Delayed
The pandemic has forced the FDA to postpone hundreds of drug company inspections. That is creating a huge backlog that is delaying new drug approvals. That led the pharma industry to warn of impending shortages of existing medicines. Pandemic-related travel restrictions and safety concerns have also hampered the ability to ensure the safety of the ever-increasing number of imported medicines. These meds make up more than 60% of the drugs sold in the U.S.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 117,644,542 Infected Worldwide
- 319,562,744 Vaccines Given Globally
- 2,612,176 Deaths
- 29,096,370 Infected in the U.S.
- 93,692,598 U.S. Vaccine Doses Administered
- 527,705 Deaths in the U.S.
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Yesterday was certainly a Turnaround Tuesday as tech stocks soared.
The Nasdaq 100 raced 4% higher and the Nasdaq Composite index rose 3.7%. We can put some of this down to short covering. But it seems more like a market that cannot make up its mind in terms of rotation and bond yields.
The risers in the tech space were among the big momentum stocks of last year: Tesla rose 20%, Peloton jumped 14%, DocuSign and Zoom both were up 10%.
Be cautious. This type of market will take out both shorts and longs. This huge volatility in such a large stock as Tesla is going to be important. The sheer number of ETFs with exposure to Tesla and – by extension Bitcoin – is vast.
That may end up being more worrisome than the pandemic.
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Yours in Health & Wealth,